New Arrivals    Books    Archival Products   Charts   Newsletters   Upcoming Events   Contact Us  

Popular Categories

   How-To - Genealogy Misc.
   How-To - Write & Publish
   How-To - Conservation
      - Acadie, Acadian
      - New Brunswick
      - Newfoundland & Lab.
      - Nova Scotia
      - Ontario
      - Prince Edward Island
      - Quebec
      - Western Canada
      - First Nations, Metis
      - Military - Before 1920
      - Loyalists / UEL
      - Pioneers' Stories
   British Home Children
   England & Wales
   Ireland & Northern Ireland
   United States
      - American Revolution
   more countries...

   Archival Products

   Genealogy Charts

   Gift Certificates

Popular Authors

   Thomas MacEntee
   Paul Milner
   Chris Paton
   Ron W. Shaw
   Gavin K. Watt

Popular Publishers

   Global Heritage Press
   MacDonald Research
   OGS - Ottawa Branch
   Unlock The Past

Search by topic, title, author or word:

News & How-To
Formerly branded as

Articles, press releases,and how-to information for everyone interested in genealogy and history

Subscribe to our free newsletter


Was your Grandmother a Harvey Girl?
Published: 04 June 2010
By: Shirley Gage Hodges   Biography & Archived Articles

Many women from the mid-west and eastern states in the U. S. went west to become Harvey Girls. If your female ancestor seemed to have disappeared during the period of 1880 to about 1950 they may have gone west to find employment. They left their homes and took jobs to work in Fred Harvey's restaurants along the Santa Fe Railroad route. These restaurants were found from Kansas to California. There were restaurants at stations along the line about every 100 miles.

Those women who decided to become Harvey Girls had to sign a contract to work for either a six-month or year long period. Some left at the end of their contact but many of these women continued to work for 35-40 years for Fred Harvey.

Fred Harvey trained these women who had little or no experience to not become simply a waitress but a part of a group of people who helped to settle the West. Fred Harvey had very high standards. He would only hire those who he felt were upstanding, educated and virtuous women. The ads placed in the paper would call for "Young women of good character, attractive and intelligent, 18 to 30, to work in Harvey Eating Houses in the West." He advertised in the East and Midwest because he felt that other than those women who were wives and mothers there were not many "respectable" women in the West in the early years.

Map of Santa Fe Railroad
[click on map for larger image in .pdf format]

Many of these women left their homes so that they could earn money to help their families. Some were hoping for adventure, the chance to travel and perhaps even romance.

As many as 100,000 women may have gone west to work as Harvey Girls. Many of these women ended up marrying and settling in the West and starting families of their own.

If your Grandmother was a Harvey Girl make sure that you tell her story.

Until next time :)

Shirley Hodges

To read back issues of Shirley Hodges' articles, visit her biography & archived Articles

Editor's Note: Shirley Hodges is the author of the popular Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930:

BOOK - Guide to United States Census, 1790-1930
By Shirley Gage Hodges
Published by Global Heritage Press, Milton
Guide to the United States Census, 1790-1930 explains what the United States census records are, what information they contain and how to use each census. Each individual year of the Federal Census between 1790 and 1930 (census were compiled every 10 years) is explained in detail. This guide is designed to help the census novice and intermediate researcher come to grips with this valuable genealogical research tool. Experts will also find this guide useful.
ISBN 978-1-897446-01-0      More information

coil-bound.....$14.95 (Canadian Dollars)
Check price in your currency
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Check out the resources at

History & Genealogy Books...

Printed and digital history and genealogy books from a wide selection of publishers, including Global Heritage Press. Browse by country, location or topic.

Document & Artifact Preservation Products

Acid-free storage and display products to preserve and safely store your family heirloom documents and artifacts.

Family Tree Charts & Forms

Poster-size blank family tree charts and foldable large charts for storage in binders.

© Inc. 1992-2018
Sign up for our free newsletter!   |   Unsubscribe from our newsletter

The Merivale Cemeteries
(Protestant - Ottawa area)